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Recent dissertation abstracts from I-O PhD students

Dissertation Abstract -- Megan Schuller, PhD student -- Jan. 2021

Communication is an intrinsic part of the human experience and has been widely studied empirically and practically within organizations. It is the bedrock for many workplace behaviors and outcomes such as employee trust, engagement, job satisfaction, and transformational leadership. Nonetheless, effective communication continues to be a challenge for organizations across a variety of sectors. The current study examined whether a communications training, CoachMotivation (CM), increased perceived effective communication. CM is derived from clinical psychology skills for behavior change, namely, the Motivational Interviewing concepts of open-ended questions, affirmations, reflections, and summary statements. This study also considered the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism) as predictors of baseline perceived effective communication and whether personality predicted residual change in perceived effective communication after participating in CM training. Findings include: (a) CM training increased self-perceptions of effective communication on the total communication scale (N = 153; t [152] = -8.19, p <.001, d =.66) as well as subscales of clarity (t [152] = -6.83, p <.001, d =.55), responsiveness (t [152] = -6.56, p <.001, d =.53), and comfort (t [152] = -7.13, p <.001, d =.58); (b) Extraversion predicted perceived effective communication at baseline for the total communication scale and comfort scale (B = .19; SE = .06; p <.001 and B = .14; SE = .03; p <.001, respectively); (c) Openness predicted residual change in perceived effective communication on the total communication scale and comfort scale (B = .09; SE = .04; p = .043 and B = .06; SE = .03; p = .034, respectively). This research provides practical implications for using CM to enhance communication and lays the groundwork for further study of CM's effects on more distal outcomes of communication as they relate to transformational leadership. Keywords: communication, motivational interviewing, transformational leadership


Dissertation Abstract -- Emily Minaker, PhD student -- Jan. 2021

Although failure can be rich sources of learning, research has shown that experiences of failure also tend to coincide with strong psychological reactions. The negative emotions and isolation one feels may cause one to discount or dismiss one’s failures. In doing so, individuals may be unable to properly appraise their shortcomings and fail to identify what they might learn. Previous research suggests that self-compassion (self-kindness, a sense of common humanity, and mindfulness) may impact experiences of failure in important ways. However, research has yet to empirically examine the impact of self-compassion on lessons learned from a past failure experience. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact of induced self-compassion on lessons learned. Additionally, this study sought to extend attribution theory by exploring the types of attributions people make about the lessons. After describing a past failure, an American sample of 354 Prolific Academic participants were randomly assigned to one of two experimental conditions: (a) a self-compassion induction, or (b) a control condition. Following manipulations, participants completed a measure of self-compassion and then reflected on lessons learned by writing the lesson that was most significant to them. Participants then rated the attributional dimensions for that lesson (e.g., locus of causality, personal controllability etc.,). As hypothesized, results from this study showed that those in the self-compassion condition had higher levels of self-compassion when compared with individuals in the control group (β =.315, t(354) = 4.03, p < .001). However, results did not support the hypotheses that those in the self-compassion group attributed their lessons learned as more internal (β =.08, t(354) = .38, p=.71), personally controllable (β =.01, t(354) = .03, p=.98), stable (β = -.14, t(354) = -.82, p=.41), global (β = -.12, t(354) = -.69, p=.49), universal (B= -.456, t(354) = -1.25, p=.21), or less externally controllable (β = -.09, t(354) = -.35, p=.73), when compared with individuals in a control group. Mediation analyses revealed an indirect effect of condition on personal controllability through self-compassion (β = .13, 95% CI [.026, .251]). This result supported the hypothesis that participants would rate their lessons learned as more personally controllable through the process of self-compassion. However, results did not support the additional hypotheses that self-compassion would also mediate the relationship between induced self-compassion and locus of causality (β = .05, 95% CI [-.047, .159]), external controllability (β = .10, 95% CI [-.012, .242]), stability (β = -.06, 95% CI [-.155, .010]), universality (β = -.02, 95% CI [-.096, .048]), and globality (β = -.06, 95% CI [-.153, .031]). Future implications and research are suggested to further explore the impact of self-compassion on learning from failure.

Keywords: self-compassion, failure, learning from failure, attribution theory